New York – Kanye West on Friday dropped the tracklist to his planned new album “Donda 2,” just after saying it would not be available to stream but instead exclusively on his own “Stem Player” device.
The mercurial artist said the device will allow listeners to play four different track elements — vocals, drum, bass and music — and costs $200.
“Tech companies made music practically free so if you don’t do merch sneakers and tours you don’t eat,” West wrote on Instagram, part of a series of posts on the topic.
“I feel that same feeling like when I first moved to New York to make it in Music. I ain’t know what was gonna happen but I knew had to move,” the billionaire artist, 44, continued.
“No one can pay me to be disrespected. We set our own price for our art.”
It’s not the first time West has pushed against streaming models or toyed with unconventional release methods.
After dropping “The Life of Pablo” in 2016 – at first exclusively on the platform Tidal – West continued altering the record, adding vocals, new lyrics and remixes.
Last year he previewed “Donda” over a series of listening events – and when it was finally streaming, he said his label had dropped it without permission.
His “Stem Player” announcement comes in the wake of public outcry over Spotify, a streaming giant accused of allowing misinformation to spread via its podcasts and especially its star host Joe Rogan.
That controversy also triggered long-simmering debate over streaming platforms’ hegemony and their business models that pay musicians a small fraction.
“Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system,” West wrote. “It’s time to take control and build our own.”
The new album, set for release on February 22, comes as West has been posting prolifically about his personal life and angst over his divorce with Kim Kardashian and raising their four children.
“GOD PLEASE BRING OUR FAMILY BACK TOGETHER,” he posted at one point.
He has also used his massive platform to target Pete Davidson, the 28-year-old comedian and actor Kardashian has been dating.
He has deleted a number of his posts including a screenshot from a thread with Kardashian, who texts the rapper that he is “creating a dangerous and scary environment.”
The artist, who has spoken candidly about his struggles with bipolar disorder, has come under criticism for his antics on social media and what many have dubbed harassment of his ex.
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